(C-Fam – Washington, D.C.) UN agencies and abortion groups are angry and in shock. They may have to shut down programs in many countries because of planned cuts to “sexual and reproductive health” programs by the UK government.
The United Kingdom slashed $199 million in funding to the UN population fund. The cutbacks amount to 85 percent of the UK’s funding commitment to the international agency and roughly a quarter of its total budget.
More cuts are expected to the UK government’s Women’s Integrated Sexual Health program, which benefits abortion giant International Planned Parenthood Federation and MSI Reproductive Choices.
The head of the UN Population Fund, Natalia Kanem, called the cuts “devastating.” She claimed the funds would have helped prevent about 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6 million unintended pregnancies and 4.3 million unsafe abortions.
The majority of the funds withheld from the UN Population Fund ($180 million) supported the Fund’s contraceptive supplies program, which provides contraceptives at a low cost to governments and groups that provide family planning and abortion in developing countries.
Other cutbacks to UK funding for “sexual and reproductive health” internationally are slated to take effect in coming weeks and months as part of an overall reduction in UK foreign aid due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Alvaro Bermejo, Director General of abortion giant International Planned Parenthood Federation, told The Guardian newspaper the planned cuts would be “brutal” and that abortion groups might lose up to $100 million in funding from the UK government.
“We’re already having to close in half the countries where we are operating and keep the remaining ones operating at 30% of what they were,” he said
Simon Cook, chief executive officer of global abortion giant MSI Reproductive Choices, said the cuts are worse than the cuts they experienced under the Trump administration, because the Trump administration’s Mexico City Policy honored existing commitments to abortion groups made under the Obama administration.
“The U.S. government made a lot of noise but didn’t actually cut a lot of sexual and reproductive health funding to the international community,” Cooke told the online international development news site Devex, “but in this case the U.K. government is actually doing it. … It’s a genuine and real cut.”
Cook’s organization, formerly known as “Marie Stopes International” is one of the largest beneficiaries of UK aid for “sexual and reproductive health”, receiving over $60 million in 2019. The group changed name in 2020 because its founder Marie Stopes was an avowed racists and eugenicist.
The cutbacks, announced in November 2020, come as a surprise to UN agencies and abortion groups alike. The UK government is a leading donor to abortion groups internationally and is outspoken in promoting abortion as an international right. In 2019 it announced a multi-year commitment of more than $800 million to “sexual and reproductive health.”
It is likely the shortfall will be made up by other donors, particularly the Nordic countries that often make up whatever cuts various U.S. president make. It is also likely that faith-based groups on the ground around the world will not miss the cuts as they often complain they are awash in contraceptives and would prefer help with clean water, safe sanitation, and basic medical supplies.
Editor’s Note: Alexis I. Fragosa, Esq. writes for C-Fam. This article first appeared in the Friday Fax, an internet report published weekly by C-Fam (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute (https://c-fam.org/). This article appears with permission.
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